Monday, May 6, 2013

Review #123: "I Love Ewe" and "Hug a Bull"

Dad:  Today we’re celebrating two new books:  “I Love Ewe” and “Hug a Bull”!
Elijah (age 7):  I want to tell everyone something.  These books are written by my dad.
Dad:  Does that seem strange?
Gracie (age 12):  It seems normal to me.
Elijah:  Lots of dads make books.
Dad:  They do?
Gracie:  These books would be good for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Dad:  Thanks, “Marketing Department!”
Gracie:  You’re welcome.
Isaac (age 14):  These are also “learning books.”
Elijah:  They are about Daddy and Mommy animals.  The books tell you their names.
Dad:  So, animal moms and dads have names.
Elijah:  Of course they have names!
Dad:  Names like “Mac” and “Thorin” and “Darleen”?
Elijah:  No those are just the names of my fish.  My fish that died. 
Dad:  You’ve had a lot of fish that have died.
Elijah:  Yeah.  Also my fish Bob.  And Bob 2.  And Bob 3.  And Burp.
Dad:  So what kind of names are in these books then?
Lily (age 10):  I know!  I know!  Boy and girl names.  They teach you lots of animal names you never knew before.  And some of them are fun to say – like “Gobbler.”  And “Peahen.”
Dad:  Let’s all say “Peahen” together.
Elijah:  And a mommy octopus is called a “Hen.”
Gracie:  The little baby octopus on this page is the cutest little thing ever!  He’s adorable.  And I’m falling in love with that little crab.  I love all the little underwater babies!
Lily:  I know another name!  Guess what a mommy cow is called?  A Rhino!  Wait – I mean a mommy rhino is called a Cow.
Dad:  Yeah – it doesn’t work in reverse.
Lily:  Hee hee hee!  A mommy cow is just called a Cow.
Dad:  Simple and confusing at the same time.
Isaac:  Is a girl goat called a “Hootin’ Nanny” or just a “Nanny”?
Dad:  Nanny. 
Isaac:  Because “Hootin’ Nanny” sounds awesome!
Dad:  Well, a hootenanny is like a southern… music… party… thing.  See, I made it into a pun for the book.  There's lots of puns and wordplay.
Gracie:  I hate puns.
Dad:  Oh!  A glowing endorsement for these books!
Gracie:  I do like the puns in these.  I only hate annoying puns.  Like when they are on Valentines cards.
Lily:  I just made up a rhyme: “The Mayor of Horse / is the Mare of course.”
Gracie:  Dad, you had to draw a horse for this book.  You hate drawing horses.  Which do you hate more?  Drawing horses or cows?
Dad:  Cows.
Gracie:  And you had to draw cows twice.  For the Ewe book and the Bull book.
Dad:  I had to do both of them twice.  A cow and a horse for each book.
Gracie:  Actually even more!  Parent cows and baby cows for both books.
Dad:  Four of each.  Wait – and then there are cows on the cover too.  And in the charts in back.  And on the title page.  Even more!
Gracie:  Poor Daddy.
Dad:  Six horses and nine cows all together.
Gracie:  Nine cows!!!
Lily:  I like drawing horses and cows.
Dad:  Well, I’ll have you do it next time!  I paid my horsie due.
Gracie:  Horsie doo?  That sounds disgusting.
Elijah:  I never noticed that it’s called “Hug a Bull” and there’s a Bull on the cover!
Lily:  You just thought it was because cows are huggable?
Elijah:  They hug and snuggle.
Dad:  How do you think cows hug each other?
Gracie:  They just rub together awkwardly.
Dad:  I had wanted to put an elephant Bull on the cover because it could hug with its trunk.  I think cows might just stab each other with their hoofs if they tried.
Lily:  Ouch.
Dad:  I almost put a turkey on the cover and called the book “Wobbly Gobbler.”  That’s what I originally wanted to do first.
Gracie:  That would not have been as good as “Hug a Bull.”
Dad:  But it’s so fun to say!  Imagine… “Here’s my book, “Wobbly Gobbler.”
Gracie:  It does match the title of your “Chuckling Ducklings” book better. 
Lily:  (flipping through the pages)  Kangaroos!  Boinggie – boinggie!  They are so cute!
Gracie:  Oh my word!  I love the little possums.  Every time I see your tiny animals, my heart melts into little possum puddles. 
Lily:  And this page has a baby mole!  We actually saw a little tiny mole once.  He was so cute!  Even though he was dead.  Remember when you ran over one with the car in the driveway?
Gracie:  The little donkey baby is adorable.
Lily:  He’s got Elijah-hair!
Gracie:  He does!  He does!  You made the donkeys look like Elijah!  The little donkeys have his hair and the same expression he gets all the time.
Elijah:  “Ee-honk!  Ee-honk!”
Gracie:  That is NOT a donkey noise!  I don’t know what that was.
Lily:  It’s more like a squeaky rocking chair.
Dad:  So now I’ve done a book about Baby animals, one about Moms, one about Dads…
Elijah:  Next you have to do Grandmas!
Dad:  I’m sure there’s a big list of grandma animal names out there.
Kids:  Ha ha ha!
Dad:  Well, thanks for the review, guys!
Lily:  (Starts rapping) 
  Pssh -- pssh -- pssh…
  This is a book
  Which is about
  Lots of fuzzy animals
  And they love to shout!
  It tells all the names
  In poems and rhymes
  And I love to read them
  All of the time!
Dad:  Word.
Lily:  It’s about Dads and Moms and such
  And barely any of them…. are… Dutch!
Kids:  Hah ha ha hah…
Dad:  How about:  Cows can’t hug
  But their heads can touch!
Gracie:  Yeah!

"Ee-honk!" by Elijah
 bull and calf, by Isaac

vixen, kit, and tod; by Gracie

vote Mare for Mayor, by Lily

Author/Illustrator:  Aaron Zenz
Published, 2013: Walker Books
Like them?  Here they are!

This week, some wonderful blogs have highlighted "I Love Ewe" and "Hug a Bull."  I'm so very thankful!  I invite you to stop by and leave these folks some thoughtful comments:

Mon May 6:  Bookie Woogie
Tue May 7:  Reading to Know
Wed May 8:  Playing by the Book
Thu May 9:  Sharpread 
Fri May 10: City Book: Hug
and Ewe
Sat May 11:  From the Mixed-up Files

Also very cool news!  "I Love Ewe" and "Hug a Bull" were featured on my favorite NPR program "A Way With Words"!  You can listen to the episode's intro below...

And now time for a Giveaway!  Thanks for your support over the years!  Just leave a comment on this post and you'll be entered to win one of three prizes:

Prize Pack #1:  signed copies of "Hug a Bull" & "I Love Ewe" + three other books I've authored/illustrated: The Chimpanseeze, The Hiccupotamus (new in boardbook!), and Chuckling Ducklings (new in boardbook!)

Prize Pack #2:  signed copies of "Hug a Bull" & "I Love Ewe" + three other books I've illustrated:  Nugget on the Flight Deck, Skeleton Meets the Mummy, and Five Little Puppies Jumping on the Bed

Prize Pack #3:  signed copies of "Hug a Bull" & "I Love Ewe" + an original piece of artwork - crafted specially for you - depicting the animal of your choosing!  for example:

To be entered, just leave a comment here!  
The Giveaway will run through the end of the month, May 31, when we'll randomly select three winners.  Best of luck!


Kris said...

Ooh, I would love to win some of these books to use with the kids I work with at the hospital!

Heidi Noel said...

It is fascinating to see the improvement of the drawing since you first started. I am so impressed by the level of talent you guys have! I really liked the foxes that Gracie drew.

I NEED ChimpanSNEEZE! I bought the books the day they came out. They are great for gifts, baby showers, Mother's Day, etc. So guess where mine went?

Loretta said...

Chesney and I love reading your books. I think it's more exciting when you know the author/illustrator too!

Tyler Hartford said...

Your work is amazing and inspiring - I am glad to call you "friend."

Amy C. said...

You do such wonderful work, Aaron. We love The Hiccupotomas. We need to add some more to our book shelf!

Amanda Kaffenberger said...

We have Chimpansneeze and love it! Would love to get all the other books too! My 5 year old son loves all the word play and my 2 year old son loves the colorful pictures of the animals!

Unknown said...

My 3 yr old is finally interested in reading books. I can't wait to introduce her to yours.

Katy K. said...

Such a fun concept for the books! I have a 3 and an 8-year old who would love these. I'm glad I'm not the only one impressed with the improving art skills... but that was the first thing I thought when I saw the kids' art.

Carmen said...

Really neat books!

The Holwerda's said...

Oooo, pick me!!

Amanda T said...

We love your books, Aaron! What a fun giveaway! Thanks for the chance to win your awesome books. :)


Anonymous said...

These books are so adorable. I was VERY excited to see them at my local indie!

Maiken Damsgaard said...

Those are amazing! And love, that it's done with CPs!

Jo-Ann said...

Love having two new books about animal parents to share in storytime!

Annette Whipple said...

My husband and I were actually talking last week about ganders...and wondering if we were right to think they are males. :)

I think the idea of teaching these names is a rather brilliant (or at least fabulous) idea bc we do need to know...or at least in my house the kids wonder. :)

Original artwork to boot...woo-hoo!

Audrey said...

These books look so cute. I'd love to win them to share with my nephew.

Megan said...

Aww, these look so cute! :)

Danielle Pershouse said...

Adorable books! I can't wait to read them! I might have to give the bull book to my husband for his first Father's Day.

hollybookscoops said...

My kids can't wait to get their hands on your newest books! We love to read your rhyming stories together. Thanks for the fun review and the opportunity to enter your giveaway!

Meg Kuta said...

The books are beautiful - but the comments from the kids are PRICELESS. Thank you for sharing them with us!

libby said...

I'd definitely love to win some of these beautiful books!

Michelle said...

We'd love to add these books to our library. What fun!

Robbi said...

These sound fabulous! And your kids are both hilarious and very talented artists! :) Hoping to win!! :) Thanks for the fun read and the chance at the giveaways! And Happy (very early) Father's Day! :)

Kelly said...

So excited you have new books! Tyler took his copy of "Chuckling Ducklings" to daycare during baby animal week and it was a hit!

KT said...

I'm so excited that The Hiccupotamus is now a board book! Yay.

And, I agree with the commenter above about how fun it is to see each kid's artwork change and develop. The foxes were fantastic!

Bethany said...

I've missed reading your Bookie Woogie reviews because my life just got too hectic, but I'm so excited for these new books! I can't believe the amazing artwork the kids did too - I think you'll have to take them up on drawing the horses and cows from now on. They appear to be quite capa-bull!

Anonymous said...

I would love to get more of your books!

Unknown said...

I can;t wait to see the book about grandmas.

Rachel's grandma

Joanna said...

I would dearly love to see what a grandpa octopus looks like, after you're done with the grandmas. Perhaps he'd have a pipe? :)

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I'm with Beth! Can't wait for a Grandma book - go grandmas!

Eden House News and views said...

Oh how I wish I live in USA I would love to read those to my grandsons

Anonymous said...

Beautiful drawings. They look like cute books. Sadly, I have no little ones around that I could read them to.

A Creative Harbor said...

Fantastic books ~ lovely illustrations ~ so loving and educational ~ Bravo! ~

Lmkazmierczak said...

Yowzer... love how you have put your website together. Best of luck♫♪

Unknown said...

Wow! That's awesome and neat illustrations.

Scudds x

Annesphamily said...

Books are everywhere and wonderful to read. Love all the fun you have shared with us today! I make it a point to buy our grand baby a new book when I can! His sweet momma reads to him every single night! My whole phamily loves reading! Love the giveaway!

Judie said...

Guess I'm going to be hunting out these two books for my grandchildren, the twins, who are coming for avisit in June!!

Unknown said...

I love how you shared your conversation with the kids... Tons of fun from beginning to end.

Of course, I have to enter the drawing to try to add more books to our collection!

Anonymous said...

You are a remarkable DAD. You conversations are absolutely priceless! And your illustrations are thoughtful, soft and so full of spirit! Thanks for this awesome chance to catch up on some awesome books!
I will cross my finger and toes!

Majeki said...

I always love the illustrations in your books!

slb3334 said...

we would love these.

Renee G said...

These books look wonderful.

McKim said...

I would love to win these books to read to my grandson. When we go to visit, the first thing he does is run to his room to get a book for us to read together.

Darleen Granger said...

I love the illustrations you draw, Aaron. Hiccupotamus is still my all time favorite, along with I Love Ewe:)
Since I was there when you were born, I can safely say that I am one of your longest term admirers.
I am a long term fan & am extremely proud of you!

Mandy said...

Love your blog and books, and of course I'd love to win!

Anonymous said...

What fun books! I love their titles. Kids will love them too. I will be sharing this post.

Catherine said...

Thank you for such a great giveaway. Hug a Bull and I love Ewe are such clever titles - I love the wordplay :)

Lisa P. said...

Thank you for this wonderful giveaway.

Unknown said...

These books are so adorable. I would love these for my daughter

susan1215 said...

Cute books with great illistrations. I'd love to win these for my niece

s2s2 at comcast dot net

Daniel M said...

bet my niece would love it! thanks for the giveaway! - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

Christie said...

I'd love to read these to my sweet little one!

Heather B said...

o how cute would love to win these!

Debra said...

i would love to read these to my grandaughter

Chels said...

We love your books and I love this blog! ChimpanSNEEZE and HICCUPotamus are on our bookshelf and I give them as kid gifts! I would be thrilled to win a prize pack!!

beautiful pieces said...

I'd love to win some more Aaron Zenz masterpieces! :-)

AmberDawn McCall said...

Ha! I LOVE the dialogue with your kids! Gracie's especially. She makes me want to melt into a puddle of cuteness. Keep up the great work, Aaron! God bless you and yours!

Drew Hartel said...

I would love to win some of these books, my daughter loves your five little puppies jumping on the bed. Keep the new books coming!!!

Unknown said...

Can't remember if I have already commented ... so if doing it twice, not trying to stuff the ballot box...

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, how awesome! I've given lots of these books as gifts!

Joanna said...

Cut interview and I would love to win these!

Liz Spitznagle said...

Delightful dialogue! What a great family!

Jennifer Lyons said...

Best author ever! Aaron Zenz is the nicest person, not only did he get me a copy of his first book when it was out of print, but he personalized it for my daughter, drew a cool doodle, sent her a poster and drew another doodle on the mailing box! It was amazing and we still giggle together when we read about the hiccuping hippo and now the sneezing chimp. I love the soft, beautiful drawings

Tiffany Riley said...

I would love to win some of your books, my son is only 23 months and adores the silly words and illustrations of the hiccupotomus! I'm starting early with his reading and writing and your books have been a part of that. One day I would like for him to be an example for other young men of the African American community.

kateonthinice said...

Great and fun post with awesome giveaway. Always good to find our about books

Unknown said...

We love your books! And it's pretty cool that I know the author!!

Sharon said...

Love the family book review format!! Is there a "Zenz" bundle-o-books available for sale anywhere yet? Keep up the great work, both creating and raising awesome kids who love good things!

Lisa Watson said...

I love your books, you do a great job with them and kids love them. Thanks for the giveaway.

KJ said...

I have a great-nephew that needs to add these to his collection :)

Tracy Holmes said...

We love your work! My mom has given our boys 2 of your books. We enjoy reading about your children and their involvement in Illustrating and writing.

Leslie S. said...

My kids would love these books.They look so cute.Thanks!

Dave Kuta said...

As always, we love your work and love your family!

laurasloves said...

These books are so remarkable and ones which children and parents adore for generations. Thank you so much for sharing the joys of being a dad.
Laurie Emerson
lauraemerson17 at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

Cute stories, great illustrations. My little Grandman LOVES to be read to loves animals and would love these books!

Brenda said...

I would love to win for my future grandchild

susansmoaks said...

thank you for the chance to win
susansmoaks at gmail dot com

Lisa P. said...

I would love to win for my grandson.

Z-Kids said...

Thanks for all the interest in these books! And thank-you so much for your kind words and support.

I’ve turned to the number generator at to select the winners, and here they are:

Prize Pack #1 goes to…
Commenter 64: Tiffany Riley

Prize Pack #2 goes to…
Commenter 55: Chels

Prize Pack #3 goes to…
commenter 46: JDaniel4’s Mom

I’ll get your book bundles to you soon! Thanks again to everyone!
- Aaron Zenz

Erica MomandKiddo said...

Your posts are always entertaining! Thanks for sharing!

karumina said...

Oh! i love your sweet world!

Creations By Mit said...

Such ADORABLE characters!!! (& I LOVE the ones from the kids, too!) Hiccupotamus is on my list to add to my personal collection of inspirational kid's books! I discovered it a few years ago at the local book store, & fell in love with the illustrations but the dust jacket was torn, so I didn't buy it. Thanks for the reminder to add it to my Amazon list!!!